South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) gets another propaganda machine - this time in newsprint. The New Age, a 32-page broadsheet daily newspaper that will reportedly be 'extra-friendly' to the ANC and the government, was unveiled to the media last night Thursday, 22 July 2010, in Sandton, Johannesburg, and is set to hit the shelves in mid-September.
The New Age will have an online version up and running by 1 September 2010.
The newspaper will be sold at R3.50 and have an initial daily print of 170 000 copies. It will target a 4-10 LSM, with the view to developing new markets and broadening the readership base of newspapers, TNA Media, the publishing house, said.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Essop Pahad, ANC member and former minister in the presidency, said The New Age was a newspaper of his movement, and was banned by the apartheid regime. Pahad is also a senior adviser and TNA Media board member.
Atul Gupta,TNA Media executive chairman.
"This name has a very direct connection for both the ugly and the dynamic of our history. An innovative departure is that this newspaper will be doing what many newspapers in this country have not done - to cover all the nine provinces on a daily basis. Provinces such as the Free State, Mpumalanga, North West and many others have been relegated and forgotten, and all the good news coming out of there has been ignored."
The newspaper's first 16 pages will cover headline news, provincial news, Africa and international news, entertainment and sports pages. The second 16-page section will cover business news, labour, financial data, classifieds, further provincial news, features and lifestyle and entertainment.
Former Miss SA and University of Pretoria law graduate Claudia Henkel will be in charge of managing the paper's lifestyle and entertainment.
Dr Essop Pahad, senior adviser and TNA Media board member.
Prof Adam Habib, Prof Shadrack Gutto, Zamisekaya Maseti, Prince Mashile, Prof Tawana Kupe and cricket star Graeme Smith will contribute articles to the newspaper on a regular basis, Pahad said, stressing that the independence of thoughts, ideas and analysis will be respected and upheld. However, the editor will have a final say as to what to publish or what to leave out, he warned.
The New Age's editor-in-chief is Vuyo Mvoko, former SABC political editor and Business Day journalist.
"Many things have been said about this newspaper, and the titles we have been given do not match what we really are," Mvoko said self-importantly.
"Critical but fair and constructive"
"We will create space for critical conversation and we will differentiate ourselves by highlighting SA's positive aspects. We will be critical but fair and constructive. We will not criticise because there is nothing to say and we will challenge some of the newspapers' journalism about what the reader really wants.
Vuyo Mvoko, The New Age editor-in-chief.
"And we will succeed where numerous others have failed and we will do it spectacularly," he bragged.
TNA Media said advertising will be sold per square centimetre as opposed to column centimetre, giving advertisers a lot of more flexibility in the size of their advertisements.
The publishing house also said the paper will be printed in three different locations and distributed by the country's leading distributor, reaching all corners of the country.
Addressing the audience in English with a heavy Indian accent, Atul Gupta, TNA Media executive chairman, said within the next few months, TNA will have its own printing press - the Manroland - which he said is one of the world's most efficient printing systems.
Claudia Henkel, The New Age managing editor of lifestyle and entertainement.
"It is important to emphasise the product's positioning of an honest and balanced approach to news gathering, reporting and dissemination," Gupta said, adding that the newspaper was a commercial venture. In this venture, Bennett Coleman & Co, the publishing house of India's biggest daily national newspaper The Times of India, will be an important double digit equity investor and strategic partner.
Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to Bizcommunity.com as a senior news writer.
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